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Airworthy Spitfires Album Part 02

ML407 Spitfire T9 Mk IX in 485 [NZ] Squadron Markings Coded OU:V

ML407 [G-LFIX] a Supermarine Spitfire T9 Mk IX in 485 [New Zealand] Squadron Markings Coded OU:V - Also Called 'The Grace Spitfire' - Photographed at Biggin Hill on 2nd June 2007

Photographic Copyright Caz Caswell © 2007-2010

Related Notes by Caz
ML407 was originally built as a Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk IXe in early 1944, and served on the front line throughout the last twelve months of WW2.
It was delivered to 485 [New Zealand] Squadron on the 29th of April 1944 by Jackie Moggridge, one of the top lady pilots of the ATA, where it became the 'mount' of Flying Officer Johnnie Houlton DFC who was accredited, with the first enemy aircraft shot down over the Normandy Beach head on D-Day.

In December of 1944, ML407 was transferred to 341 Free French Squadron, becoming the aircraft of Sergeant Jean Dabos. It then moved on through a number of Squadrons: 308 [Polish], 349 [Belgian], 345 [Free French] and 332 [Norwegian], before returning to 485 [New Zealand] Squadron.

Having completed its War Service with the same Squadron it had been first assigned to, ML407 was retired from the RAF. In 1950 ML407 was given an extreme 'makeover' by being converted to a 2 seat TR Mk IX for the Irish Air Corps with whom she served until 1960 with the serial IAC 162.

Despite being retired in 1960 the Irish Air Corp only sold it in 1968 to N.A.W. Samuelson. He in turn sold it to Sir W.J.D.Roberts in April 1970, becoming part of the Strathallan Collection. In August 1979 Nick Grace acquired the Aircraft from Strathallan.
Nick spent five years restoring the Grace Spitfire to flying condition, and this was completed in 1985. With Nick's capable hands at the controls, ML407 also now registered G-LFIX flew on 16th April.

Nick flew it at many air displays and for filming, including 'Perfect Lady' and 'Piece of Cake'. In a cruel twist of fate Nick Grace was tragically killed in a car accident in October 1988, but unlike his other Aircraft, ML407/G-LFIX was retained by the family and his widow Carolyn Grace took on the task of learning to fly the Spitfire, successfully completed her training in 1990, and getting her Display Authorisation in 1991.

ML407/G-LFIX normally flies in the markings of her first and last operational Squadron, those of: 485 [New Zealand] Squadron RAF Coded OU:V.

ML407/G-LFIX was in these markings when the above Photograph was taken at Biggin Hill on 2nd June 2007

Related Links
For a detailed history see:
ML407 Spitfire T9 Mk IX - City of St Albans Spitfire Squadron Page

Grace Spitfire ML 407 Website

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